View Full Version : Linguistic question
January 26th, 2004, 04:17 PM
How "parallel" would a version of English with a POD centuries ago be with OTL? How far back can a POD be and leave the languages mutually understandable, OTL English and and ATL English? Could I understand Mithras' "Saxonish", for example? Would learning Latin, Greek, Arabic or some other language be better if I only knew I was going to be stranded in an ATL with a POD of a millennium or two ago?
January 26th, 2004, 06:15 PM
That's a toughie. Language is constantly changing in small ways but can sometimes change a great deal in a short period time. What can happen is that the small changes build up such that the stable system collapses, goes through a period of change in which some features appear and disappear rapidly then settles into a new stable pattern. For example, say in language X there is reduction in the pronunciation of the ends of words. If language X is a case inflected language then at some point you lose all the case distinctions and this will have a massive change in the structure of the language.
Relexification can happen quite quickly too. In this case you end up with a language with the same structure but expressed with different words. Bulgarian has slavic words but a mostly non-slavic grammar. Relexification is often the result of invasion where either the locals take up the words of language of the invaders but with the grammar from their original language or vice versa.
The transition from pidgin to creole to fully fledged language can take as little as 3 generations. The grandparents speak pidgin, the parents expand this into a creole and the children expand this further to a fully fledged language as expressive as any other. The final language may end up really quite different from the languages it came from.
January 26th, 2004, 06:38 PM
I think the question is further complicated by whether a population is literate or not. Thus, French, has spun of many pidgins, but the fact a standard base of French literature exists, serves to keep the entire concept of french as a language from splitting.
Thus, although Haitian is a strong and vital creole form of French, the chance that it would spin of into another language is relatively small, because as indiviuals become more literate, they tend to adopt the standard forms. The power of literacy can be easily seen by comparing two different languages from 2000 years ago, Greek and West German (Proto-English). Greek has undergone no where near the number of changes that have occurred within the English family tree.
Thus, with respect to your question, would OTL English be understandable by an ATL Mithraic Anglisch? Probably not, particularly if the langauage is frozen early by literacy.
vBulletin® v3.8.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.